Brush fire leads police to marijuana growing operation, one arrested

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – A 39-year-old Fairmont man is facing charges after authorities located a marijuana growing operation while investigating a brush fire.

Reports indicate Marion County Sheriff’s deputies where called by firefighters when they identified marijuana growing site October 23 off of White Dry Creek Road. Deputies located a residence about 40 yards from the site of the fire with a trail large enough for a vehicle leading to about 700 marijuana plants on a nearby hillside.

Deputies spoke with the neighbor who called 911 after they knocked on the door and no one answered. Neighbor identified the renters of the residence as Jason Foster and an unidentified male. Deputies also confirmed a vehicle parked at the residence was registered to Foster.

Days later, deputies returned with a search warrant and discovered one room with a large amount of drying marijuana and growing equipment. Police confiscated 690 marijuana plants, nearly 380 grams of packaged marijuana, packaging material and mail addressed to Foster.

Deputies returned again on October 31 to question Foster, but the other renter was the only person at the residence. The renter provided a recorded statement and told police the marijuana plants were Foster’s hobby. The man also told police he was in Buckhannon at the time of the fire and had seen Foster since.

Foster is being held in the North Central Regional Jail and charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana and conspiracy to commit a felony.